Coping When Loved Ones Abandon You

Over the course of the past several months, I’ve managed to be abandoned by four different people. To be cast away by one person can be steadfastly brushed off as an anomaly. But to be abruptly deserted by not one, but four people over a relatively short time period has honestly, almost completely demolished any shred of self-esteem that I have managed to foster over the years.

I do not use the term “abandon” lightly, as it rightfully conveys harsher undertones than terms such as “rejection” or a “breakup.” I’m talking about the abrupt, one-sided verdict by friends to sever a friendship over a simple misunderstanding, after which one is left gasping with confusion and dismay. I’m talking about the sudden void left behind when someone you’re in a committed relationship with suddenly drops off the face of the earth, never to be seen or heard from ever again.

On the barely contained surface, I put on a brave face, toss my head, put on my lipstick, and drink a very strong, sugary margarita. I shrug it off by blithely referring to said people as “bitches” or “motherf–king bastards,” and protesting that my life is better off without their disloyal presences. But under that carefully constructed surface I feel like a worthless, sodden piece of trash that has been tossed down a dark alley, and will never be clean or whole again. Deep inside the sniveling voice in my head mutters, “I was right all along,” and steadfastly puts up the mile-high gates and walls around my heart, head, and soul—and promises to never let them come down again.

As someone with an anxiety disorder, my brain swirls all the different possibilities around in my head ad nauseum, and refuses to believe that everything is not my fault. Perhaps it’s true that I really am broken at my core, and people only entertain friendships with me out of pity. Men must only want to screw me, and then chuckle with their friends that I trusted them. Maybe I really am broken, and can never be someone that anyone could want in their lives for any length of time, much less forever. Or the ever-constant worry that I am simply too much, too intense, and too quirky for people. It’s the ultimate mindf*ck.

But, the reality is that life must go on. Yes, I would dearly love to climb into a dark comfy hobbit hole with my cats and books, and never speak to another human being again. My ability to trust others has been completely mauled by these experiences, and will never be the same. But despite this experience, I cling tightly to the few people I hesitantly trust who assure me that I’m worthy of love, friendship, and respect. They’re the ones who drag me out of my apartment where I’ve been holed up with “The X-Files,” Adele’s music, and several boxes of tissues, and take me to the nearest bar for some good pizza and a nice beer. They sit by me while I get white-girl-wasted, give me a shoulder to cry on, deposit me at home, and cheerily text me the next morning to make sure I’m not too horribly hungover. These are the types of people that help maintain my faith in humanity.

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Furthermore, I’m learning the importance of not taking other people’s failings as a personal failure on my part. But also, that if I’m hearing the same thing over and over, it’s important to take that into account and look introspectively at myself and actions and see how I can better myself. However, if your gut and those you trust are telling you it was the other person being a dickhead, than that’s your cue to try and silence your own inner beast trying to make you feel bad about yourself.

So perhaps abandonment is just a part of life. To some degree or another we will all trust the wrong people, and feel that our souls have been scorched completely out of our chests. We will walk around for days, or weeks, with that dazed expression while our brains attempt to salvage, and rebuild, the idea of a life without that person. Perhaps we all experience this and maybe, just maybe, it’s a necessary evil to toughen us up, and add another layer of caution to our screening process. We weather the storm, throw away things that remind us of them, hang on to the things we refuse to let them taint, and then live to fight another day. You’ll find someone else to gab on the phone with, or snag frozen pizzas and cheap wine so you can get tipsy together while watching “Bridesmaids” or “Juno.” You’ll find someone else to cuddle and marathon the “Harry Potter” movies with, or plan ridiculously extravagant reading nooks for the dream house you’ll own together. Life will go on, and you will find someone else worthy of your time.

View Comment (1)
  • The past two years have been a whirlwind of change and loss.
    It started when I finally left my ex-husband for good and moved across the
    country. Unfortunately, I also had to leave behind my two adult children who
    were in school and working. I took very little with me other than my youngest
    son and our two old dogs. Only a week after moving in with my folks, I learn
    from my mother that my brother’s fiancée wrote this horrible email about me. Long
    story short, my brother, his wife and I haven’t spoken a word in over a year. I
    felt like I had broken up with my brother, it killed me for months! Then I
    moved again and quickly got into what I thought was the last relationship I
    would be in…wait for it…After only a month of living together my ex-husband received
    child support papers and after a year of not giving a shit, tried to sue me for
    residential custody of our son. My two adult children turned on me viciously
    and we are no longer speaking. The boyfriend that I was living with cheated on
    me, slapped me several times among other forms of physical and verbal abuse, had
    all my stuff packed in my vehicle with the key in the ignition – all in the
    course of 4 hours. I still don’t know what the hell happened and I don’t care
    anymore. WACKO! That’s 5 people, family members, my own children a friend, a
    lover, all in 2 short years, along with 4 changes in residence, a job and one

    Today I am well over all of them really. I did a lot of
    introspection and have asked for a lot of others opinions to check myself. I know
    I didn’t do anything to deserve any of them behaving the way they did. I was
    always good to my brother; I helped him in his life a lot. I loved my then to
    be sister in law and called her a saint. I have been there 24/7 for 18 years
    for my adult children and was never away from them or abused them in any way, I
    sacrificed so much for them every day since they were born. I was nice to my
    ex-husband until he turned my kids against me. As far as the ex-boyfriend, I
    never cheated, lied or did anything that would warrant that crazy shit. I
    worked a full time job, never left my kid with him to babysit, etc. That being
    said, even if I would have done any of those things, it would never justify the
    rage and domestic violence. NEVER!

    Granted, life is not the same, not at all. My parents, aunt,
    uncle, aren’t speaking to my brother and sister-in-law anymore either due to
    more rude emails to them from my brother earlier this year. Christmas is canceled
    until further notice. With the exception of my brother and sister-in-law, my brother
    who NEVER had any relationship with any of my kids until just recently, my family
    doesn’t talk to my kids anymore. It’s all gone to shit. For what?

    Here’s why: I could no longer live with an ex-husband who treated me badly and I left to RECLAIM MY LIFE. I STOOD UP FOR MYSELF about that shitty email and expected loyalty from my brother. I wanted a lousy $200 a month CHILD SUPPORT,I WANTED TO BE INDEPENDENT, not owned, not told what to do, what to wear, who I could see and when and where and face weekly interrogations. Funny, how liking and respecting yourself enough to do the right thing for “you” is so
    detrimental to others.

    However, I have learned so much over the past two years. I have had so much heartache and despair I wanted to flat out DIE! But look at me living and shit. If someone told me I would be happy today, I would have cried in their face, but I am. All this taught me that people have gone crazy and
    there is NO REASONING with crazy people. I have no choice other than to move on. I hope my kids come back to me one day, but the rest of them can go to hell. Now I know what I really want and I’m not going to ignore my intuition and settle for trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole. I also learned that work, a good friend and an interest or two can really leave you with no time to miss anyone. The most important thing I learned was that: THEY LOST ME!Not the other way around.

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